The church at Jerusalem was the first Christian church in the world. Since its beginning, many of its members were very poor. So, the first Christians there gladly chose to share their possessions with each other (Acts 2:44-45). Not long after that, they made special arrangements to provide for the poor widows in their church (Acts 6:1-6),
The Christians in Jerusalem were the first to suffer for their belief in Christ - and Paul (then called Saul) was personally responsible for many of their troubles (Acts 8:1-3). Many of them lost their homes and their jobs; several had to go to prison (see Hebrews 10:32-34).
After Paul became a Christian, he desired very much to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:10). His opportunity to do that came when he established the church at Corinth, in Achaia. The new Christians in Corinth were eager to do God's work, and many of them could afford to give. So Paul encouraged them to collect a gift for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. After he returned to Corinth, he would be able to take the gift to Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-4).
On the way back to Corinth, Paul passed through Macedonia. There, something happened that Paul had not expected. Macedonia's Christians were very poor, and Paul had not asked them to give. However, they heard about the gift that Paul was taking to Jerusalem. So, they urged Paul to take their gifts, too (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). They were eager to give; they considered it an honour to be able to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem. They trusted God to provide what they themselves needed (see Matthew 6:25-33; Philippians 4:19).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.